In Switzerland, 99% of the companies are small or medium-sized. And nearly 90% of these 320,000 SMEs are family-owned.


This represents a large number of family businesses. How are they managed? Is their board organized, structured or are they waiting for an issue to be discussed?

How easy is it to communicate in a family?

Not always, we know that, and even less when it comes to talking about money, vision and desire. Who will have the last word? How to make a decision without hurting and even better without making a mistake?

A viable solution:

Bring in an independent director who is familiar with the issues and workings of a family business. To be a good counsellor, it’s best to have been there before. Especially since a family business is complex and the dynamics are quite different and more specific than in a normal business.

It is an effective and sustainable option to have someone from outside the family on the board of directors. This guarantees the impartiality and the necessary distance to be able to decide without being emotionally involved.

For the company, it is a godsend, an opportunity to get a new perspective that will complement what already exists.

The loneliness of the entrepreneur:

Having an independent director is also an opportunity to share your thoughts, concerns and doubts with someone you trust. This is not always the case in family businesses. Because not everything can be shared.

What’s next?

The role of the Board of Directors is to ensure the continuity of the company. Therefore, one of the fundamental points, is the transmission of the company once the current leader can no longer ensure its functions. This step is prepared in advance and one of the roles of the independent administrator is to support the current leader in this preparation, which can be delicate.

Which independent director profile would be ideal for my family business?

This will depend heavily on your needs and the gaps that may exist in your current board. Are you looking for technical expertise or business management skills? Support to define the strategic line for the next few years and to structure your organization?

First, we invite you to define a profile. We are able to assist you in this process.

Once the profile is established, you will be able to find the perfect candidate.

At APIA Swiss, our members are excellent independent directors.

APIA Swiss Team